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Ruchuta gunning for glory!

Ruchita Vinerkar, a third-year Bacherlor of Arts student of Viva College (Virar) should ideally be preparing for her all-important final examinations that begin next month. Instead, the 21-year-old Nalasopara resident is training her guns, quite literally, on something else.

Ruchita Vinerkar
Shooter Ruchita Vinerkar trains at the Viva College shooting range in Virar yesterday. PIC/Sundari Iyer

The young pistol shooter is all excited about her participation at the April 2-10 International Shooting Sport Federation’s (ISSF) World Cup in Changwon (Korea) where she will be representing India for the first time. She will also participate in two more ISSF World cups thereafter — at Fort Benning (USA) and Munich (Germany).

Considering this is her first major international competition, the pressure will be intense, but Ruchita’s coach at the Maharashtra Rifle Association shooting range in Worli, Ronak Pandit is confident she will come put up a decent showing nevertheless. “Right from the time she first came to me in August 2011 till date, her attitude towards shooting has impressed me. Ruchita is very focused and does not get distracted by her surroundings. This is her first major international competition and I want her to just enjoy the process rather than think of the pressure associated with it,” Pandit told MiD DAY yesterday.

Initially it was fun
Ruchita first took to shooting for fun while she was in Class VIII at Raja Shivaji Vidyalay in Nalasopara. She began pursuing the sport seriously however only in 2010, and has had a metoric rise since. In 2012, Ruchita won gold in the 10m pistol even at the University Championships. Thereafter she was part of the junior team that won gold in the 10m pistol event at the at the 56th National Shooting Championship in New Delhi. She was also part of the senior team that clinched bronze at the same event. Last month, at the national senior selection trials, Ruchita shot scores of 380/400 and 383/400 that earned her a berth into the national team for nest month’s World Cup.

Ruchita’s father Rajendra, a mechanic at the Western Railway’s Mahalaxmi workshop, said his daughter’s perseverance has paid off. “When Ruchita took to shooting, I had no clue of the sport but everyone around was impressed with her talent. We belong to a lower middle class family and most of the times I have had to take loans to buy her equipment. But today, when she is on the verge of representing the country, I feel proud to have supported her dream. I hope she comes home with a medal,” said Rajendra.

“To make it to the senior team within just two years of taking to the sport professionally is an achievement in itself. I foresee her as an Olympic shooter,” said Pandit. Ruchita meanwhile, is nervous yet confident. “I fared badly in my first two nationals (2010 & 2011) but didn’t give up and did well in 2012. I did not expect to make the senior national team so soon. But now that I’m here, I’ll give it my 100%. I hope to win an Olympic medal some day,” said Ruchita.
India’s 10m pistol team for the ISSF World Cup in Changwon (Korea): Annu Raj Singh; Ruchita Vinerkar; Heena Sidhu; Malaika Goel and Sonia Rai. 

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